In the Wild with Greg Wagner


WILD GAME COOKING 101 by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
November 23, 2009, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Hunting, Uncategorized, Wild Game Cooking | Tags: , ,

Those of us who enjoy Nebraska’s many and varied fall hunting seasons have our freezers packed full of venison, wild turkeys, rooster pheasants, Canada geese and other assorted wild game species. The Wagner family loves eating a variety of wild game entrees over the holiday period! How about your family?

 If you are new to cooking wild game or haven’t done it for a while, here are some basic principles to follow from Chef Dan Small who writes for Pennsylvania Outdoor News:

 –        Game is leaner and drier than most domestic meats, so use recipes that keep it moist!

 –        Game meat will be tender if you cook it for a short time on high heat or a long time on low heat. Game meat needs to be cooked thoroughly, but is best done medium-rare!    

 –        Younger animals taste better and are tenderer than older ones. Use young game in most recipes; reserve older game for stews and braising.

 –        Aging game will help tenderize it and add flavor. As an example, you should age an old gobbler for about a week before freezing it or cooking it. 

 –        Less is better. Simpler recipes are not only easier; they respect the nuances of game meat. Use sauces, spices and seasonings sparingly to enhance, not overpower your game.

 –        Fresh is best. When a game recipe calls for herbs, purchase them as you need them from the grocery store or start a small herb garden. Old herbs have little taste. Greg Wagner’s favorite herb to use with wild game is rosemary!

 –        Wines and Wild Game. To keep things simple, use white and rose wines for upland game birds, red wines for everything else.   

 –        Let it soak! Let wild game meat soak in marinades overnight, or at least for an hour or two. This will help add flavor to and tenderize your meat.

 –        Rub it in. Sprinkle herbs and rub seasonings on your game meat with your fingers and then let it sit a while before cooking. Brush a light coat of olive oil on meat that has been dry rubbed to help seal in favors and moisture.

Dan Small says turning dead critters into delicious meals is not a daunting task. Dan summarizes: “Keep your game meat moist, serve it hot and use seasonings sparingly and your guests will start calling you a gourmet chef!” Right on, Dan! Bon appétit!

 By the way, feel free to share your favorite wild game cooking secrets and recipes with us by leaving a comment. Thanks!

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